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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate.
Characters show patience, encouragement, teamwork, perseverance, and good friendship. Encouragement learned from others is shared to inspire and help more people. A circus doesn't use animals as the owner says it's inhumane due to the animals not being able to give permission. A character motivated by jealousy and revenge doesn't learn an emotional lesson.
Positive Role Models
Isabel is a friendly woman who is mis-sold Turu, a hen who doesn't lay eggs. She doesn't give up on her when offered an exchange and instead encourages Turu with music. Turu tries her hardest to lay an egg but can't. With Isobel's help she becomes confident and inspires others to do good. Matthew and Lucy, a young boy and girl, encourage each other, show respect to others, and are open about their positive feelings towards Turu. Alaistair Troubley has lived a bitter life trying to get revenge on Matthew's father. He sabotages the circus and holds a large debt over the family. A salesman lies about Turu to offload her and calls her useless.
Only non-White characters are single Chinese and African circus workers in stereotypical dress. African character is dressed in leopard print bikini fastened with a bone, the Asian character in a Tang suit.
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Violence & Scariness
Mix of slapstick and meaner violence. A hen kicks another hen causing them to topple off a ledge and wooden planks then fall on them. An older character falls off a roof and ends up being taken to hospital by ambulance. A human kicks a chicken. A kid is pushed over by an adult. The same character holds a chicken by the throat, threatening to kill it. A rooster is struck by lightning. A character is electrocuted in a light socket and fired out of a canon. A kid and a hen fall into a river and are whisked along rapids, screaming.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A hen swoons over a rooster. She sneaks out at night to meet him, they flirt while dancing and share a kiss. A human character is attracted to another.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Turu, the Wacky Hen is an animated musical underdog story, with plenty of positive messages but also some problematic stereotypical portrayals and cartoon violence. An Argentinian-Spanish co-production -- originally called La gallina Turuleca -- this review refers to the English-dubbed version. Turu (voiced by Elisabeth Gray) is a chicken who can't lay eggs but learns she has talents elsewhere. She is encouraged by her human friend, Isabel (Roxanne Bachmann), and then shares that positivity with others. The movie has good messages of patience, kindness, friendship, and persistence. The villain, Alistair Troubley (Stephen Hughes), is motivated by revenge. It's worth noting that he doesn't learn any emotional lessons at any point of the story. The cartoon violence includes someone being shot out of a cannon, a man kicking a chicken, a boy being pushed over, and a chicken being strangled by a human. Turu is also picked on by other chickens for being different. The movie has only two non-White human characters, both of whom are circus workers portrayed by lazy and offensive stereotypes. The Chinese character is dressed in a Tang suit, while the African character wears a leopard print bikini fastened by a bone. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This animated adventure features a singing chicken that's not only enough to save the movie's struggling circus but also has plenty of appeal for kids. Turu, the Wacky Hen's handful of original musical numbers are feel-good toe-tappers that lift the movie each time they appear. Less compelling are the adaptations of existing songs ("Macarena" is turned into "Turuleca" for a few renditions), but it's all perfectly passable. The heart of the movie comes from the kind Isabel. She is conned into buying Turu, but is encouraging, kind, and patient. When Turu fails to produce any eggs, she instead focuses on Turu's other skills. Watching Isabel's patience and kindness then radiate out across the other characters as they grow their self-esteem, confidence, and kindness is surprisingly moving.
Even when Turu, the Wacky Hen is going off the rails in its final act with its hard to follow and exhausting final fight, the amount of kindness between the characters carries it through. Turu herself has gawky charm but on the whole it's not the most attractive animated movie. The animals look OK, but the human characters have the complexion of streaky bacon, making for a sometimes unsettling watch. Also uncomfortable is the thoughtless depiction of the only two non-White characters. This should have been approached with more awareness. For a movie with such a kind message, harmful thoughtless mistakes leave a disappointing aftertaste.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.